I’m running out of time this morning after writing so much about Allentown, PA, but want to get a few more things posted before I have to move on to other of life’s duties.
Over a week ago a large gathering of Bhutanese refugees disturbed a quiet Concord neighborhood with chanting, large numbers of people and traffic. The original story is here at the Concord Monitor. One resident put a “GO HOME” sign in a window.
That story was followed by an apology of sorts from one of the Bhutanese refugees involved. But interestingly he blamed the federal refugee contractor for not giving the former UN camp residents, the Hindu Bhutanese, a sufficient cultural orientation.
For new readers, we have now resettled over 80,000 Bhutanese refugees from camps in Nepal (they are really Nepali people that Nepal didn’t want back once they were expelled from Bhutan). The UN wanted to clean out the camps (the plan was very controversial because many did not want to be “scattered to the four winds” as they said at the time).
The Bush Administration decision to resettle 60,000 in the US was made by former Maryland candidate for Governor Ellen Sauerbrey who was the Bush Asst. Sec. of State for PRM. As I said, we are now up to 80,000 and they are still coming.
Don’t forget readers that the Refugee Admissions Program is 35 years old and Republicans like George W. Bush enthusiastically helped this migration of third worlders to America.
We have a very lengthy archive on the Bhutanese resettlement going back to 2007, learn more by clicking here. Pay attention to stories about the high suicide rate of the Bhutanese people in America.
So back to the Concord news. This is PRAJA SHAPKOTA writing a sort-of apology for the disruption in the neighborhood, here (see photo!).
I feel concerned with the discontentment generated due to the religious ceremony in the Heights neighborhood of Concord (Monitor front page, Oct. 7).
As a member of the community in Upstate New York, I wish to express my personal viewpoints with some background information.
We the Bhutanese people of Nepali ethnicity have come to the United States after persecution and eviction by the absolute monarchy of Bhutan from 1985 to 1995. We have spent more than 18 years in crowded refugee camps of Nepal in uncertainty when Nepal was undergoing political metamorphism.
The refugee camps strengthened family and neighborly bonds with higher interpersonal interactions, which has become a community culture. What we see and do shapes our ways of life – our very culture.
We primarily follow the Hindu traditions, and for a family a lengthy religious function is once or twice in a generation. In case of Rudra Timsina, the function was a way of sharing joy with the community after buying a house – the achievement of a dream. Most invitees attend the discourses and cultural activities at least once in seven days as this is also a method to socialize among people with cultural and language barriers.
Such people constitute more than 50 percent in our community – illiterate in English and unaware of the American culture and traditions. We have never lived with people of totally different culture. Hence, this is a case of “conflict of culture and outlook” and not a conflict of community.
….in my opinion, the resettlement agencies with local community organizations should initiate at least a month of group orientation on the various aspects of American culture, such that a “conflict of culture” can be lessened.
I’ve had complaints from some of our readers about the large number of Bhutanese refugees in their communities. At least this writer is sensitive to the disruption created in this Concord situation.
Who is bringing the Bhutanese to Concord?
Go here to the handy list, and see that three federal refugee contractors are dividing up the pie in the same office in Concord (Church World Service, Episcopal Migration Ministries and Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service). Manchester, NH has been overloaded so now it looks like they are busy little beavers colonizing Concord.